Friday, November 29, 2013

Zimbabwe Elected to ACP-EU Co-Presidency

Zim lands ACP-EU co-presidency

November 29, 2013
Lovemore Chikova News Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe staged a dramatic coup against the intransigent European Union at the just ended 34th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Session by winning the powerful and influential co-presidency of the joint standing committee on political affairs of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

The country will co-chair the joint committee after being elected president of the Standing Committee on Political Affairs of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly at the organisation’s 34th session held in Ethiopia from November 19 to 28.

The ACP Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

According to the rules of procedure of the ACP-EU JPA, the EU also elects its own president of the Standing Committee on Political Affairs who will co-chair the joint committee with Zimbabwe when meetings are held by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Zimbabwe would be at the helm of the committee for the next two years and would be able to influence the agenda and direction of discussions in the joint meetings between the ACP countries and the EU.

There are two other committees for the assembly – the Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade and the Committee on Economic Development and Trade, but the Committee on Political Affairs is the most influential.

The Zimbabwean delegation to the ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly is led by Mberengwa East legislator Cde Makhosini Hlongwane and is made up of Mutare South MP Cde Nyasha Chikwinya (Zanu-PF), Mufakose MP Paurina Mpariwa (MDC-T), Ambassador Margaret Muchada and a parliamentary official Dr Godfrey Chipare.

Cde Hlongwane will be the co-president of the Joint Standing Committee on Political Affairs of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly by virtue of him being the head of the Zimbabwean delegation.

Cde Hlongwane yesterday said Zimbabwe would forge new relationships.

“By this election, Zimbabwe has won itself a profound window to wrestle itself from the vices of a historically biled relationship with the North,” he said. “It is an opportunity to now deftly construct a new relational matrix based on a sustainable trajectory of engagement and dialogue.

“In engaging with the North, however, we are acutely aware of the subjugative and violent character of those that occupy global power hierarchies and our national interests never come second in any one course of engagement.”

The lobbying for the presidency started at least a month ago, with National Assembly speaker Cde Jacob Mudenda sending démarches to his colleagues in southern Africa alerting them to Zimbabwe’s wish to assume the post.

Cde Hlongwane then used his position as the head of the Zimbabwean delegation to lobby other legislators in the region to support the country’s bid to land the post.

In the meantime, Cde Muchada was also lobbying her colleagues at the Committee of Ambassadors for the ACP Parliamentary Assembly to ensure the country was elected.

The Zimbabwean delegation at the 34th ACP Parliamentary Assembly session in Ethiopia continued with some intense lobbying of other delegates and officials from the ACP group, leading to the resounding election.

The EU imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe using Article 96 of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly’s Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2002.

Since then, relations between the two have been messy, with the sanctions having affected Zimbabweans in various ways and retarded their economic and social progress.

Full text of ACP Declaration on EU sanctions on Zim

November 29, 2013


The Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of states, meeting in its 34th session in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on 22 and 27 November 2013,A. Having regard to the Georgetown Agreement, the Constitutive Act of the ACP Group of states, and the charter of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly,

B. Having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2 005, and amended for the second time in Ouagadougou on 23 June 2010,

C. Whereas by Council Decision 2002/148/EC, the EU adopted measures to suspend cooperation with Zimbabwe in the framework of Article 96(2)(c) of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, which have been renewed and maintained every year since,

D. Considering the progressive steps taken by the Government of Zimbabwe and the opposition to restore political and economic stability, including signing the Global Political Agreement of 2009 between the ZANU-PF and MDC formations under the mediation efforts of the SADC Heads of State and Government, which led to the establishment of a Government of National Unity and the subsequent adoption of a New Constitution by National Referendum on 16 March 2013,

E. Whereas the EU Council Decision of 17 February 2012 recognised that the creation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) was an opportunity to re-/establish a constructive relationship between the European Union and Zimbabwe and to support the implementation of its reform program,

F. Recalling the undertaking by the EU to respect both the outcome of the harmonised elections of 31 July 2013 and the assessment of those elections by ACP Group, SADC and African Union observations missions.

G. Considering the grave economic and social consequences of EU Sanctions on Zimbabwe, which have caused untold human suffering as a result of company closures, with attendant job losses, which inter-alia, compromised the ability of the Government to provide basic social services,

1. Appeals to the European Union to honour its undertaking to respect the verdict of SADC and the African Union on the harmonised elections of 31 July 2013, which constitute a positive and important milestone in the recent history of the country, and which have laid the foundation for sustainable political stability and rehabilitation of the economy, including the reconstruction of the physical and social infrastructure of the country.

2. Hereby calls for the lifting of EU Sanctions against the Government of Zimbabwe, and the normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union,

3. Instructs its President to forward this Declaration to the EU Council, the ACP Council, The European Commission, the European Parliament, and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Done at Addis- Ababa, 27 November 2013.

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